By Leonard Pitts Jr.

Why Is Todd Akin Still Talking About Women?

October 3, 2012 12:00 am Category: Memo Pad 20 Comments A+ / A-
Why Is Todd Akin Still Talking About Women?

“Ladylike?”

It is a telling choice of word. Hearing it used unironically, as would-be Missouri senator Todd Akin did last week, one almost feels as if Amelia Earhart never flew a plane and Sally Ride never rode a space shuttle. As if Madame C.J. Walker never made millions and Meg Whitman never made CEO. As if Lisa Leslie never dunked, Pat Benatar never rocked, Oprah Winfrey never reigned and Hillary Clinton never ran.

But that is, indeed, what the man said. In an interview last week, he complained that his opponent, Sen. Claire McCaskill, was very aggressive in debating him, unlike her 2006 race, when she was “much more ladylike.”

Akin, last heard revealing the existence of a previously unknown mechanism in the female body that shuts down contraception in the event of “legitimate rape,” might want to pen himself a reminder to not talk about women again, ever.

This latest gaffe is somewhat reminiscent of when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was quoted as saying candidate Barack Obama had the ability to switch off and on his “Negro dialect.” While the observation was true enough, we were still left to grapple that bizarre choice of word. The term “Negro” fell out of usage in the late ’60s. How is it Reid failed, for 40 years, to get the memo?

One wonders the same about Akin. The issue is not dated terminology, per se, but rather, the suspicion that it reflects a dated worldview — particularly with Akin, given his belief in a rape-resistant uterus.

But though he is the latest, he is hardly the only man who has sought recently to police the decorum of female lawmakers. Consider the 2011 email Rep. Allen West sent Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz telling her, “you are not a lady” and “shall not be accorded due respect from me.” And then there’s then-Sen. Arlen Specter’s 2010 shot at Rep. Michele Bachmann during a radio interview: “I’m going to treat you like a lady. So act like one.”

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Why Is Todd Akin Still Talking About Women? Reviewed by on . "Ladylike?" It is a telling choice of word. Hearing it used unironically, as would-be Missouri senator Todd Akin did last week, one almost feels as if Amelia Ea "Ladylike?" It is a telling choice of word. Hearing it used unironically, as would-be Missouri senator Todd Akin did last week, one almost feels as if Amelia Ea Rating:

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Comments

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_B6RROC4IUESHT322QS5VJVPYRM Lynda

    Perhaps he was vacinated with a victrola needle. It beat the heck out of me why he keeps digging a deeper hole for himself. The man is a disgrace to his state and so are those tossing money his way. A pox on all of them.

  • bcarreiro

    deprived ……i would show this guy how to man up be hes a bitch.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

    Ladylike? Does that mean Claire should have rolled over and taken the punishment? Again, the saddest part of the Akin’s affair is not so much the bizarre things he says, but the support he still enjoys Logically, they should devise a negative scale to count his votes…not in Missouri!

    • sigrid28

      Todd Akin is just the poster boy for the misogyny that now dominates the Republican party, busy inventing new ways to interfere with women’s health and the well-being of American families. Yet stupid and mean-spirited as he is, he’s practically enlightened when compared to men in other cultures worldwide, where women are still executed for adultery, where genital mutilation of little girls is routine, where female fetuses are frequently aborted, and where girls are still enslaved by men in the sex trade.

      Even so, it is discouraging to admit that our own laws still allow the “freedom” to discriminate against women in all walks of life, as Akin loudly attested to recently. My pet peeve is that right here in the U.S. the work of a homemaker still earns no points toward Social Security benefits, even when it includes lifelong care of a disabled individual–a service that would cost $50,000 a year when provided by a non-family member and earn that provider points toward Social Security benefits. Yet, for a family member, often a woman, who never can and never would retire from providing expert care to a loved one, it is, in the eyes of the Social Security Administration, as if she never worked a day in her life.

      Be that as it may, every word wasted on Todd Akin is a word not devoted to getting Claire McCaskill re-elected and others like her. We need more women everywhere in roles of leadership, period. In addition, women’s rights in the U.S. are vital to protecting the rights of children, which are also threatened by Todd Akin and his kind in the Republican party, who seek to give the Mitt Romney’s of the world tax breaks while depriving children of food stamps, Medicaid, Head Start, public education, and college loans. I don’t understand why even the Neanderthal branch of the Republican party would not recognize a biological imperative in protecting their progeny. If we would just elect more women to office in the U.S., maybe we will not have to wait for natural selection to weed out the Todd Akins standing in the way of survival, let alone progress.

      • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

        The first time I heard Akin I thought he was a distraction being used by the GOP to deflect attention from Romney-Ryan, and from some of the bizarre things they have said, but the more I hear him talk the more convinced I am that he actually believes what he says and that he knows his audience loves what he is saying.

        Claire McCaskill, Elizabeth Warren, Heather Beaven and most of the women running for Congress deserve our support and our vote. In addition to being well qualified for the positions they are seeking, they are fighting a mindset that has impaired the ability of our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters to enjoy the same opportunities men do. Alas, some Republicans running for Congress openly express their opposition to the Lilly Ledbetter Act, and they do it proudly and with the support of their constituents! It is hard to believe that things like this are happening in the USA in the 21st century.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/C7AAHW642DACTA4UHSVVS5RX5Y Rhonda

          No, unfortunately Akin is really how a lot of Republicans think.

  • old_blu

    This guy is as dumb as a stump, I can’t believe he has the sopport he does. WAKE UP MISSOURI!!!

    • Sand_Cat

      He has the support of those who believe as he does, more or less, minus the open “support” of his Republican comrades who believe the same things but won’t say them, and even they would certainly pull the lever for him in the voting booth.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IXEQ4IX7PJF2EXCEE7MVUHCWGI ladyj

    agree he is a disgrace, If women votes for him or anyone who votes for him, should be ashamed. Akin is a women hater. He believe that women should be in the kitchen, taking care of the house, family and pregnant. Akin I got news for you, we are not going away.

  • http://www.facebook.com/julia.margrave Julia Margrave

    Todd Akin is a stupid out of touch old man. Arlen Specter is as old as dirt and Michelle Bachman is the perfect box of rocks

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/XARAYZ6D6QSAZLE4SWTOQR3TFE Linda

    He looks gray-haired and wrinkled. He looks old. He probably is in the early stages of alzheimer’s. Only a fool would vote for this crusty old dinosaur.

  • Sand_Cat

    But really, isn’t this what the platform of his party and their talking points and general ethos reflect. It’s true, Mr. Akin was rather naively honest in saying these things openly, but the much smoother – and generally more highly regarded – Paul Ryan sponsor a law in Congress based on the idea of distinguishing “forced” – i.e., “legitimate” rape from – presumably – fake rape?

    Why does the press focus on idiots like Mr. Akin and ignore or soft-pedal the fact that they are simply being honest and saying things their more genteel comrades believe but wouldn’t dare say openly?

    • sigrid28

      I think the press focuses on Akin whenever he blurts out these anachronisms for three reasons. The first is the 24-hour news cycle. The press has given hefty attention to Ryan’s legislative forays into restricting women’s rights. However, those issues came to public attention some time ago, when Ryan was selected as Mitt Romney’s running mate. Then the concentration turned to Romney’s cavalcade of gaffes–and clandestine admissions–and today it’s all about the first presidential debate.

      The second problem is that the news media, both print and non-print, are still dominated by men, and even men are caught up in a work environment where insecurity dominates. Most people working in news know that getting fired is a part of life and so is moving among news outlets.

      Third, some news media outlets have sacrificed the concept of fair reporting in favor of appealing to one segment of the audience or another, to enhance ratings, for sure, and in some cases to even the score (let’s take Fox News and MSNBC, for examples). Even with this handy bifurcation, it’s hard to keep up with all the news dumping out onto the public day after day.

      So, why do women’s issues seem to go by the wayside, now and then? When you’re following the news, think of yourself flying downhill on a bike: hard to recall details about where you’ve been, when you have enough to do just keeping track of the path you’re on and the road ahead.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QXUFSMTKTK3UCL3ZFPJPONXAVM mac macey

    “Most books on witchcraft will tell you that witches work naked. This is because most books on witchcraft were written by men.”
    ― Neil Gaiman

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/HFYZP2APYPP7H6PWS2ZDQRWFEQ Hillbilly

    To bad that Atkins can’t be switched to become a woman like they do in the movie. If he lived in a woman’s body for about 20-30 years maybe then he would understand we women. But since that will never happen, he needs to lose this election in a land slide, because like all Republican elected males he wants to take away the rights that women have fought for. Since there more women voters than men if people like Atkins can do away with our right to vote then he and the others know they would have a better chance of being elected and staying in office. I can’t understand how one female in Missouri could vote this cave man.

  • youmustbejoking

    Akin is a disgrace but I’m afraid too many of those who vote in Missouri will vote for him. I would never support someone who says what he says and believes what he believes, but evidently some do not have high standards for those they elect. He has been elected to the House, so it isn’t the first time he is standing for election. The difference is in a statewide election we can only hope his long list of outrageous statements will finally come home to roost.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ARFB57QIX75LTHYFNAGOJ7ZRH4 A Yahoo user

    What? Is it 1969 in America? Next, the GOP will be saying women can’t work outside the home because of raging hormonal changes.

  • ralphkr

    The statement “the complaint belongs to the era of handlebar moustaches and high-wheeled bikes” greatly puzzles me. I remember in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s when men were expected to be gentlemen and women to be ladies and I have never seen a high-wheeled (penny-farthing) bike except in a museum. I do plead guilty to often having a luxuriant handlebar mustache from the late 1950s on and very often not being a gentleman nor treating all women as ladies (especially when they were resisting arrest).

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/C7AAHW642DACTA4UHSVVS5RX5Y Rhonda

    Akin is scary but relatively powerless due to his laughingstock status. What is scary though, is that he is supported by Paul Ryan, our potential vice president should hell break loose and Romney be elected. There is always a possibility the Romney could die in office. Then we would have to deal with someone who is a virtual clone of Akin in the White House. That is really scary—up there with Sara Palin and Michelle Bachmann. Who the VP is should always be a major consideration.

  • http://www.alexastock.webs.com Sanford Hall

    He is a disgrace, few women will vote for him and because of his outlook fewer men will also. Women are very opinionated and will steer their men clear him.

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